Barbecue is an American culinary experience. Many people confuse barbecue with grilling. Grilling is the act of taking cuts of meat and cooking over high heat over a short period of time. Barbecue is cooking over lower temperatures for extended periods of time.
Depending on where you call home, just the thought of barbecue invokes mouth-watering memories, and a reverence people fiercely defend. Every state or region claims they have the best barbecue. Kansas City, Memphis, Tennessee, Texas, and South Carolina all claim that their style is the “only real” barbecue. If you have a slow Southern drawl and hail from the Carolina’s or Georgia, barbecue is typically glazed with a vinegar-based sauce that blends a bit of sweet with heat. South Carolina adds a spicy mustard to the barbecue sauce. If you are from Texas, you instantly dream of low and slow mesquite-smoked ribs or beef brisket that jiggles when touched and has the perfect smoke ring. Sauce is always served on the side in Texas. Then there is Kansas City barbecue, which is seasoned with a dry rub, slow-smoked, and served with a thick tomato-based barbecue sauce.
Most people grab a cold beer to pair with smoked brisket or ribs. However, next time reach for wine. Bold red wines pair best with barbecued meats because the fat content needs the higher tannins that are present in red wines. Focus on how the meat is seasoned or sauced to determine the appropriate wine pairing. Here are wine pairing suggestions for the most common barbecue preparations.
Kansas City tangy tomato-based sauce – Cabernet Franc and Zinfandel
North Carolina sweet barbecue sauce – Petite Sirah and Tannat
South Carolina mustard added sauce – Sauvignon Blanc or Sangiovese
Texas barbecue on side – Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon